Friday, December 10, 2010

Catching up with Los Gatos runner, Will Geiken...

Today we chat with Los Gatos senior runner, Will Geiken.  He won the SCVAL DAL final leading his Los Gatos teammates to another league title with a solid 15:28 in some tough course conditions.  At the CCS final at Toro Park, Geiken won the Division II race and ran the fastest time of the day in any division with a time of 15:21.  Parker Schuh, the 2nd place finisher at CCS behind Geiken, went on to record a 2nd place finish at the state final with a time of 15:12 with Geiken close behind in 15:16 for a 4th place podium finish.  Geiken completed his season last weekend with a 20th place finish in the seeded race at the Footlocker West Region race.  His 16:15 was the fastest time of the day once again for all CCS runners.

1) How and when did you get your start in distance running (cross country and track)?
I started distance running in 6th grade, but those were only 6 week seasons. I didn't get really serious about running until my freshman year.

2) You were on the Los Gatos varsity team your freshman year. Who were the leaders of that team and how did they help you improve as a runner during that season?

The leaders on the team my freshman year were Michael Johnson and Dylan Shawhan, and they helped introduce me into the high school running culture as well as helping me become a more confident runner. They also showed me the importance of workouts while not overdoing practices.

3) When do you feel like you made the jump as a runner to the next level? Why contributed to that improvement?

From eighth grade to freshman year, when I started running every day, is when I made my greatest jump. From there I have had a pretty steady progression in ability.

4) You have had a few coaches during your four years on the cross country team. Who were/are your coaches and how did each contribute to your running?

My coach freshman year was Karl Keska and he improved my endurance incredibly while exemplifying all the everyday decisions that lead to better performance, such as hydration and resting the day of races. My cross country coach my sophomore and junior year was Steve Sherer, and he helped me improve my leg speed. My sophomore track coach was Mike Dudley and he taught me to how to be more confident in my abilities as a runner and the importance of interval workouts for endurance. My track coach for my junior year and this past cross country season has been Matt Snee. He has helped me improve my abilities as a leader and has worked on improving both leg speed and endurance through a variety of workouts.

5) Tell us a little about the history of Los Gatos Cross Country and why the team is so successful from year to year.

Los Gatos Cross Country has been pretty solid in its results through out the years due to steady coaching and a steady input of talented athletes from the community. I think a part of why the school has been able to maintain its success is due to its history. At Los Gatos pride in the school is emphasized, so athletes try to do things that measure up to the school's legacy.

6) What did you do this summer in preparation for the season? Any races? Workouts? What was the most mileage in a single week?

Over the summer I got up to 50 miles a week and started doing some hill workouts and tempo runs near the end of the summer. I didn't have any races or really intense workouts though.

7) What was your plan going into the CCS meet at Toro Park? How did the race unfold?

My plan going into CCS was to stay with the leader, who I assumed would be Parker, and then try and move away from him during the third mile of the race. It turned out that Parker was the leader, and through the first mile and a half I was just trying to catch up. When I caught him it was just at the base of the hills, and I actually moved ahead of him on the hills and put a bit of a gap between us. From there I just pushed through to the end and it worked out well for me.

8) Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country race? Favorite cross country workout? Favorite run? Favorite team tradition?

My favorite cross country course is Crystal Springs. It is the best course in California if not the entire United States. That's my personal bias though, and there are lots of courses that I have never run; but I feel that you would be hard pressed to find a more honest course. My favorite cross country race is the State Meet because it is a great environment and a great place to run fast times. My favorite cross country workout is repeat miles on a trail. My favorite run is Sierra Azul, which is a 4 mile hill climb in the Kennedy Open Space Preserve. My favorite team tradition actually emerged from this season. Every time we drive to a meet we listen to a song called "Amazing Horse" and sing along. It helps relax the team and reminds us that we're racing to have fun above all else.

9) What do you feel is your best distance on the track? What are your track PRs for 800, 1600 and 3200?

My best distance on the track is the 3200. My 800 pr is 2:05. My 1600 pr is 4:24, and my 3200 pr is 9:17. I'm looking forward to lowering all of those in the upcoming season.

10) What races are you most looking forward to in track?

I am looking forward to the 3k at the Stanford Invite, hopefully the Invitational 3200 at Arcadia, and hopefully the 3200 at state.

11) What is your advice for a young runner that has aspirations to compete with the best runners in the state?

My advice to a young runner would be to not start doing daily runs until high school. My belief is that kids who do heavy training in middle school generally end up burning out before the end of high school, which is a shame. Also, there is no reason to do 100 mile weeks in high school. Keep training manageable and fun. Enjoying running is the most important thing, so if you aren't having fun, aside from tough workouts, then it isn't worth it.

12) Anything else you would like to add.

Thank you for the opportunity.

Thank you very much for your time Will!  AJC

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